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Gobbler Locator Calls

Copyright © 1998 - 2002  Roger W. Raisch * Nadine Adele, all rights reserved

Locator Calls Department


Locator calls are designed to coax a gobble out of a turkey so you know where he is.  During the breeding season, adult toms are so keyed-up that they will gobble at almost any loud noise that isn't too close to them.   The banging of a car door, thunder, a dog barking, a gunshot, the cawing of a crow, the hooting of an owl, and the howl of a coyote, can all pull a gobble out of a silent tom; not every time, but often enough to set you up on some gobblers that you wouldn't have known were there otherwise.  When you hear one of these sounds while you are spring hunting, stop walking instantly and listen intently for a responding gobble.


The most commonly used locator call is the hoot of the barred owl, the familiar who-cooks-for-you, who-cooks-for-you-all cadence heard at dawn and dusk throughout Eastern turkey range.  Spring gobblers will often respond to owing made with your voice or a loud Commercial Owl Hooter.  Owling is also a good way to keep a tom gobbling while you work in on him.


There is usually a concentrated burst of owl calling about a half hour before sunrise and just before sunset.  This is the best time to listen for roosted birds.  If a gobbler and real owl get into a calling duel, let the real owl do the work for you as you slip in on the tom.  After sunup many hunters switch to a loud, raspy Crow Call to make toms "shock gobble."  Owl hooting does work any time of the day, however.


There are other less common locator calls used by some hunters, but these are rapidly catching on.  Elk Bugling can be done on a diaphragm call and works well even though there are no native elk in the area.   Similarly, the call of a Peacock, Pileated Woodpecker, or Coyote Howl will all draw a gobble.    A loud, explosive noise is the SECRET.   Finally, miniature air horns are available and work, but are a last resort.   Natural calls work just as well.  I'd like to commercialize the sound of a car door slamming shut, because it works well.  It's difficult to carry a car door into the woods though!


Turkey calls can also be used to start a tom gobbling on the roost.   The Gobble, a challenge to any nearby tom, can be made with a good Commercial Gobble Tube and is a good locator call, but it can also attract other hunters.  In crowded hunting areas I use a gobble call only for pre-season scouting, at sundown or occasionally just at daybreak.  A loud Cutt or two, or a sharp Cackle will also work. 


Which ever locator call you choose, use it aggressively.  Don't make your calls timid--sound off with an explosive and loud beginning to irritate toms into responding.  Keep it short and listen for a responding gobble. 


The best way to perfect your locator calling is to practice while viewing the Turkey Hunting Secrets DVD or listen to the Real Turkeys Audio CD / Cassettes  -  by Dr. Lovett E. Williams, Jr., all of which contain the various locator sounds you need to know with further instruction.  Warning: make sure your spouse and pets are out of the house when you practice....it's ear-piercing!

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Subjects in the Secrets Library
About Turkeys
Spring Hunting Tactics
Fall Hunting Tactics
Camouflage & Concealment
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